Dedicated Offerings (DOs) provide a way for our Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst community to recognize and financially support worthy organizations engaged in projects that reflect our guiding Unitarian-Universalist principles.

February’s Dedicated Offering on February 11 (a week earlier than our usual DO Sunday) will be for CoolCap, a charitable organization founded by Roger Bird, husband of UUSA member Rachel Peterson.

Roger has spent the last 35 years as a banker and agricultural lender, the last 20 of which have been on international development projects around the world.  His work in places like Bosnia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya involved finding solutions for the myriad issues that smallholder farmers face.   His frustration about why smallholders could not get access to credit finally worked itself into a vision about how they could — he calls it the concept, “Pay-As-You-Harvest.” And he is putting it to practice.

His non-profit is called CoolCap because “Cool” stands for “patient” (we can wait for the harvest), and “Cap” stands for “capital” (we provide the financing the farmer needs).  His goal, and the mission of CoolCap, is to “put the right tools in the hands of sub-Saharan smallholder farmers,” and the method is to provide small-scale machinery, requiring no complex support and training, via loans that— when repaid in less than a year — supply the funds for the next round of farmers. Over the last three months he has already started getting feed pulverizers and solar powered water pumps to farmers in Kenya.